A lot is happening in the world of microfibrillated cellulose and nanocellulose these days. One hot topic is new, engineered materials with MFC. As an example, our blog post on safer batteries with MFC sees a lot of interest, and the ability for MFC to enter into composite materials is an expanding field. In this week’s post, I will try to give you an update on what’s happening with MFC (and nanocellulose) out there, with a focus on the interesting application fields of materials/composites and water purification.
Development made in nanocellulose wood floors that generate electricity
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with the idea of generating electricity from your floor (!). The general idea is to have a flooring which is charged and to generate electricity by converting footsteps from people walking on the floor. Sounds interesting if you ask me, particularly when talking about changing pricing on electricity to spot pricing (especially in markets like Norway where this is rather new). The researchers at the UW-Madison believes that the power created by the charged nanocellulose can be harnessed to power lights or to charge batteries.
Using sunlight for simple water purification: bio foams with bacterial nanocellulose
Researchers at the Washington University have found a way of using sheets of graphene oxide and bacterial cellulose to obtain clean and drinkable water. They use sunlight to power this process by heating water to purified steam and then collecting this. Sounds like a good idea this one too, but isn’t sunlight quite inefficient in such a process? Yes, the researchers say, but they have found a way of heating only the relevant surface of evaporation. Fascinating stuff and they use bacterial nanocellulose (BC) to do this. The light absorbing graphene oxide/nanocellulose mix at the top will capture the heat from the light, whereas bacterial cellulose draws water from underneath while shielding it from the heat above. They state to use the BC to “transport the bulk to the evaporating surface”. We may see some interesting approaches on water purification there.
These were just examples how MFC could be utilized in engineered, smart composites that can contribute to better everyday life. What else would you think we could do with MFC?